What a welcome to New York. Three days after arriving, a series of bombings occurred in New Jersey and Manhattan. I am not taking it personally!
As of writing it seems a man named Ahmad Khan Rahami is responsible and whilst there have been some injuries, there have been no fatalities thus far. One can only hope and pray that will continue to be the case.
As this missive is being delivered to your inbox I am flying to New York City to begin my secondment to the United Nations. It’s a three-month posting to the Australian delegation, which is open to two parliamentarians every year. I’ll be joined by Labor Party Senator Lisa Singh and expect to return to Australia in December.
I have repeatedly warned of the crisis of public confidence in politics and its implications for the major parties. That lack of confidence has a new face: Labor Senator Sam Dastyari.
Dastyari is touted by his NSW pals as a political prodigy; a man of boundless energy, enthusiasm and cunning. He is also a man clearly captured by the NSW disease that has brought such disrepute into our body politic.
The 45th Parliament has started with a bang.
Today I will introduce a Bill to reform section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act by removing the words ‘offend’ and ‘insult’ from the list of offences. This hurt-feelings test has been misused and abused to shut down differing opinions in taxpayer-funded lawfare.
Parliament resumes next week after a near four-month break which included a stupendously boring eight-week election campaign.
As a result, the government has the barest of majorities in the House of Representatives and faces a significant crossbench holding the balance of power in the Senate.
Early in my Senate career I wrote that I got into politics to do something, not to be someone. That intention hasn’t changed in the ten years since.
Sometimes, in politics and life, there are things so important that they need to be defended under any circumstances. For lovers of freedom and jousters in the battle of ideas, one of those principles is freedom of speech.
Census night was a debacle.
For the first time, citizens were encouraged to complete their census form online after assurances that the system was secure and robust. Whilst the former claim is yet to be seen, it certainly wasn’t robust. In fact, it had to be shut down by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) because of purported ‘hacking’ attacks.
There have been two significant stories broadcast by the ABC over the last week or so that I’d like to briefly discuss today.
Firstly, the Four Corners story on juvenile detention in the Northern Territory (NT) which aired last week. There is no doubt that the broadcast images were confronting, resulting in the Prime Minister establishing a Royal Commission (RC) within hours of them going to air.
I don’t know how many times I have written the following statement in recent years but it is succinct, accurate and more relevant than ever.
“The world has gone mad.”
“Megalomaniac”, “vengeful”, “unstable” and “a b*stard” with a “vicious temper” who put “his own self-interest ahead of … the country as a whole.”
That’s how some of Kevin Rudd’s Labor Party colleagues have described him to the press. Members of the Coalition have been just as critical in their appraisal of the temperament and character of the former Prime Minister.
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